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This paper solves the longstanding puzzle of what speakers of ancient Hebrew meant when employing the pronouns אָנֹכִי versus אֲנִי to refer to themselves. After noting the distribution of these two forms in cognate and nearby languages, we consider the basic communicative needs between a speaker and an audience. This leads to the prediction that the long-form pronoun signals that the speaker’s presence in the situation under discussion is somehow at issue. In contrast, the short form treats the speaker’s situatedness within the discourse as a given. We validate this prediction via various tests. The consistency of findings across a wide range of speakers and books confirms that the distinction between the two pronoun forms is meaningful and a feature of the language as a whole. We conclude that the new hypothesis fits the biblical data better, and yields a more coherent and informative biblical text, than explanations proposed by Driver, Cassuto, Rosén, and Revell. [25-min. slide presentation to the Society of Biblical Literature’s Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew seminar, 22 Nov. 2021.]